Officials in New Mexico said Wednesday that they believe a real bullet was loaded in the antique revolver used by actor Alec Baldwin in a movie-set shooting that killed the film’s cinematographer and injured the director.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said a lead slug taken from injured film director Joel Souza’s shoulder came from the F.LLI Pietta Long Colt.45 caliber revolver fired by Baldwin during a dress rehearsal for the Western film “Rust” at the Bonanza Creek Ranch studio near Santa Fe on Thursday afternoon.
Mendoza claimed that the same shot killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died later in a hospital. Mendoza refused to say whether the incident was the result of negligence or who was responsible for loading the live round into the Colt revolver that Baldwin fired.
“I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that the industry and possibly the state of New Mexico need to address,” Mendoza said.
According to the sheriff, three guns were seized at the scene, including the Colt revolver. The other guns, he said, appeared to be non-functional. 45 caliber revolver and a non-functioning plastic prop gun
He also stated that 500 rounds of ammunition were seized, with a mix of blanks, dummy rounds, and live rounds.
“Mr. Baldwin’s firearm, we believe, is in our possession. This is the gun that we believe fired the bullet “Mendoza explained. “We also believe we have a spent shell casing from a bullet fired from the gun. This spent casing and recovered projectile are believed to be the live round fired from Mr. Baldwin’s revolver.”
Investigators have interviewed the two people who “handled and or inspected the loaded firearm prior to Baldwin firing the weapon,” according to Mendoza. He identified them as Hannah Guitierrez-Reed, a film armorer, and David Halls, an assistant director. A new search warrant affidavit obtained on Wednesday includes a statement from Guitierrez-Reed purportedly telling investigators that on the day of the shooting, she checked the rounds of “dummies” to ensure they were not “hot” rounds.
According to the affidavit, Guitierrez-Reed also told detectives that when the crew stopped for lunch that day, the firearms were secured in a “prop truck” on the set. According to the affidavit, she stated that ammunition was left on a cart at the set and was not secured.
According to the affidavit, Halls allegedly told investigators that Guitierrez-Reed showed him the gun in question before rehearsal. According to an earlier search warrant released in the case, Halls handed the weapon to Baldwin and said “cold gun” to alert the crew that a firearm allegedly with no live rounds was being handled.
According to the affidavit, “he could only remember seeing three rounds.” “He said he should have checked them all, but didn’t, and couldn’t remember if she (Guitierrez-Reed) spun the drum.”
According to the affidavit, Souza told investigators that when Baldwin fired the weapon, he vaguely remembered Hutchins complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection. According to the affidavit, “Joel also stated Halyna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground.” “Joel stated that he was bleeding from his shoulder and that he saw blood on Halyna.”
Investigators, according to Mendoza, have collected what they believe to be additional live rounds from the set.
He stated that the evidence will be examined by the FBI at its crime lab in Quantico, Virginia.
Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies stated that no decision on whether to file charges has been made and that she will wait until the investigation is completed. When asked if Baldwin might face criminal charges, Carmack-Altwies said, “All options are on the table at this point.”
Mendoza stated that there were approximately 100 people on the film set at the time, but only about 16 were in the immediate vicinity of the shooting.
He also stated that investigators were looking into statements and rumors about crew members allegedly engaging in target practice on the set, as well as reports of drinking on the set.